Kids never too young to learn basics of financial literacy
Published Monday, November 26, 2012 9:17AM EST
It’s never too early to teach kids about money, particularly as household debt levels in Canada continue to climb to record highs.
That is the message that Junior Achievement, Canada’s largest youth education organization, wants to share with families throughout November, which marks Financial Literacy Month across the country.
“This is something that really isn’t taught in schools or in the home,” said Mark Aboud, the Chair of the Board of Governors for Junior Achievement. “Financial literacy is a skill kids need to have. It’s good for kids and good for parents.”
During November, Junior Achievement, banks, government organizations and other groups have been promoting this message to Canada’s youth. That message has not been lost on Leilah Mouna, a grade-nine student who completed Junior Achievement’s “Economics for Success” program.
The in-class program provides children in Grades 6 through 10 with practical information about personal finance. The program also stresses the importance of a good education and its impact on achieving financial goals later on in life.
“At the beginning of the program, I had no idea how expensive life could be. It was very surprising,” Mouna told CTV’s Canada AM Monday.
Through this program, students are asked to create a financial budget that can support their life goals. As part of that exercise, the students are assigned various jobs that pay different salaries. That variable left the youngsters facing a quandary known all too well by working adults: How do I pay for everything I want when my salary won’t allow for it?
“The kids knew all the things they wanted to have, such as phones and tech toys. But they soon discovered that the list of things they wanted was more expensive than they could afford,” Aboud said.
According to Mouna, this valuable lesson has helped to make her a better shopper. “I look for sales. I shop and save before I buy,” she said.
The Junior Achievement program also encourages children to think about entrepreneurship as a viable career path.
“Many kids come in thinking they want to be doctors, lawyers. We make them aware of other possibilities,” said Aboud. “Kids who go through this program are 50 per cent more likely to star their own businesses.”
Last year alone, more than 226,000 young Canadians experienced a Junior Achievement program from over 13,500 committed business mentors.
The experience, according to Mouna, can be life-altering.
“The biggest lesson I learned was to stay in school,” she said, adding that a good education is the key to building the life you want.